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2022 Message from the OPS Board President

Friends and Colleagues,

This year has been hard. As I reflect on all we have experienced this past year, I am struck by the strength and resilience of the pediatric community. In the face of multiple pandemics—COVID, adolescent mental health and suicide, gun violence, and now RSV and influenza—we show up every day and do our best for our patients and families. We speak up for kids in ways big and small. We make a difference every day. We walk the walk. We are creative, collaborative, and persistent. And we’ve had some wins. We have advocated for state-level Medicaid changes that will help keep a lot of Oregon kids insured. We’ve helped pass safer gun legislation. We’ve engaged in QI projects. We have participated in surge planning to try to take care of sick kids and keep them as safe as possible.

The effort and work that has been required of all of us this year—coupled with a health system that is overwhelmed by volume and a depleted workforce—is exhausting. I want to remind all my cherished colleagues that we can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care is not selfish and we cannot do our jobs without first caring for ourselves. So please, make it a priority to care for yourself. Access your local physician wellness resources, practice your own hobbies, spend time with your family. Do something today that fills your cup. This journey is long and there are bound to be many more challenges along the way. We all need to lift each other up and remember our joy. In the face of all that is difficult in this profession, we need to remember that we went into this field for a reason. We care about kids, holistically. We support more than just their health. We support their families and communities, and we care about their education and social supports. We are powerful because of our collective, tireless work to build up generations and break cycles and support health and wellness so that future generations will also benefit.

So, my friends, as the year winds down and you reflect on the year you have had, don’t forget about your community of child health professionals who stand beside you. Together, we can move mountains. I am incredibly grateful to work with and in a community of brilliant, competent, and compassionate health providers, strong advocates for the kids of our state, and amazing people who step up every day. Thank you for all you continue to do to advance our field and raise our voice to speak for the smallest among us. You continue to amaze me. I look forward to all that we can do together in 2023.

Angela Zallen, MD, FAAP

Board President, Oregon Pediatric Society

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